“Creative Genius” Simcock Composes Himself for Orchestral Manoeuvres

Internationally acclaimed pianist and composer Gwilym Simcock joins the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra on a four-date Scottish tour from 27th to 30th April.

A classically trained musician who has performed at the highest level in both jazz and classical music, Welsh-born Simcock was the first musician from a jazz background to be awarded the prestigious BBC New Generation Artist status in 2006.

His solo piano album Good Days at Schloss Elmau was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize in 2011 and he has composed for and performed with orchestras and choirs, including premiering his piano concerto Progressions at the Proms, as well as touring internationally with violin virtuoso Nigel Kennedy.

Simcock has also toured extensively with the cream of international jazz artists including guitarist Pat Metheny, vocalist Bobby McFerrin, trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, saxophonist Lee Konitz, and drummer Bill Bruford’s Earthworks. Along with British guitar legend Mike Walker he co-leads the Anglo-American supergroup The Impossible Gentlemen.

SNJO director, saxophonist Tommy Smith is a long-time admirer. “When I heard Gwilym playing a solo piano concert, I was transfixed and loved every minute,” says Smith, who has commissioned Simcock to compose a new work, entitled Release, for the tour.

Simcock, who was described as “an original, a creative genius” by the late, great pianist and keyboards player Chick Corea, is thrilled to be working with Smith and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra.

“It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to write for such a brilliant, world-famous ensemble,” says Simcock. “As a composer, you want your music realized to the highest level, so I’m extremely excited to create this programme of music, especially for the SNJO.”

The tour, for which the SNJO will be augmented by the hugely experienced, Glasgow-based American percussionist Steve Forman and guitarist Graeme Stephen, opens at The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh on 27th April and continues at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (28th) and Gardyne Theatre, Dundee (29th), ending with a special International Jazz Day performance at the Music Hall, Aberdeen on the 30th.

Adam Roberts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: